25th September 2014
A study has shown Chinese pupils make faster progress in maths than their peers in England because of the whole class interactive teaching used in the country.
The Southampton University research by Zhenzhen Miao and Professor David Reynolds suggests that “whole class interactive” work, where the teacher uses questioning and demonstration with a whole group, is more effective than children working through exercises themselves with teacher support.
The study measured progress in maths tests, to 562 nine-and 10-year-olds spanning classrooms in Southampton in England and Nanjing in China, found that the Chinese pupils fared much better than those in England.
Teaching styles were monitored and statistical tests were used to see how the results were associated with particular approaches.
The researchers found that in the Chinese classrooms, “whole class interaction” was being used 72 per cent of the time, compared to only 24 per cent in England.
In contrast, classes in England spent 47 per cent of their time in “individual or group work”, compared to 28 per cent in China. There was very little traditional non-interactive or “lecture”-style teaching in either country: four per cent in England and not at all in China.